Swiss regulators in the Alpine country known around the world for its banking, have called on bankers to help stop cryptocurrency projects leaving the country. This comes amid fears that Switzerland will lose its dominance in the world’s newest financial sector, fuelled by an increasing number of crypto companies packing their virtual coins and leaving the country. Apparently these companies are heading for greener coin pastures because of the Swiss banking sector’s unwelcoming attitude towards it.
Swiss Regulators Work on Keeping Crypto Business
On the one hand, Switzerland is pulling out all the stops to attract cryptocurrency, with Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann dubbing it part of the “fourth industrial revolution’, and recent indications that the virtual currency may well find a place on the country’s stock exchange.
Switzerland’s financial market supervisor, FINMA, has also held discussions with the Swiss National Bank and the Swiss Bankers’ Association on how to improve the working relationship between banks and the cryptocurrency sector. Swiss banks responded by called for clarity regarding the rules before they sign up crypto companies. The finance ministry is now considering a broader legal framework for ICOs and blockchain technology, and is hoping to have its findings ready year end.
Swiss Banks closing Crypto Accounts
On the other hand, two of the few Swiss banks that initially accepted the new currency, have closed down cryptocurrency companies’ accounts in the past year. Among these is the fourth largest of Switzerland’s 250 banks, Zuercher Kontonalbank (ZKB), which closed numerous accounts and completely cut its ties with the crypto industry. This turnaround came after ZKB started out as one of the biggest banks in the world to accept cryptocurrency accounts, and acted as a driving force behind turning Switzerland’s into one of the crypto industry hubs.
Rankings Drop for ICO Funds Raised
These account closures have seen Switzerland dropping from second to sixth in the rankings for funds raised by ICOs in the past year. And it seems like countries such as Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands, The British Virgin Islands and Liechtenstein, are picking up the spoils.
Back in Switzerland there are fears that the cryptocurrency exodus will continue and worsen, impacting on areas like the “Crypto Valley” Zug canton, which has already seen the emergence of between two and three hundred new cryptocurrency companies.